The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2017, March 18-19

Lincoln Park Community Shelter

Paired with BOTS

The Lincoln Park Community Shelter (LPCS) is a comprehensive social service agency serving adult men and women who are experiencing homelessness. A highly individualized, client-driven approach is a hallmark of the organization that serves between 300 and 400 individuals each year. All of the LPCS endeavors are guided by the values of accountability, self-determination and community engagement. The five programs of the LPCS work to address the challenges of homelessness at every point in the housing continuum.

What new functionality we are looking for

The LPCS is looking to update our website so that it connects seamlessly to our social media sites, volunteer portal, newsletters, and resources for Guests, Community Clients, donors, and staff. Our website was built using WordPress. We are looking to add the following:

1. A spell check feature;

2. The ability to allow visitors to the site to translate the text into another language;

3. The ability to add videos to our slide images on the home page;

4. The addition of a social media widget, so that our posts to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter also show on our home page;

5. The ability to upload PDFs and other documents, not just jpegs;

6. Easily identifiable sections for different stakeholders to make it easier for site visitors to access the information most pertinent to them;

7. A volunteer blog embedded in the website; and

8. The ability to track visits to the website to better evaluate website traffic and patterns.

How the new functionality will help

The Lincoln Park Community Shelter (LPCS) is looking to move forward in the expansion of not only our physical space and programs, but also our influence in the citywide Plan to End Homelessness (Plan 2.0). We are at the beginning of preparations to launch a capital campaign to raise the funds needed to realize this goal. An updated, interactive, vibrant website that would also connect to our social media sites is key to enhancing our profile and having a successful campaign. We need a website that brings it all together for Guests, Community Clients, donors, staff, volunteers, and those who are curious about us and our work.

How our organization will use the technology

Having our social media posts automatically link to our website is key to streamlining our communications plan and reduces the time that staff have to spend on redundant posts to social media and to our website. Easier navigation to the portions of the site most useful for different stakeholders decreases frustration for site visitors and optimizes their experience. It also makes it more efficient for staff to communicate and store relevant information for those stakeholders.

Who will use the technology

Guests: Our Interim Housing Community (IHC) Guests will be able to access links to resources suggested by their case managers and provide feedback and suggestions on different services.

Community Clients: Our Community Engagement Program (CEP) Community Clients will be able to access resources, such as links to housing applications and other wraparound services.

Volunteers: The link to our volunteer portal is a crucial aspect of our website since we rely on over 1400 volunteers per year to serve meals, provide overnight supervision, and act as mentors to our IHC Guests and CEP Community Clients. Having a section that includes up-to-date information on volunteer opportunities and where volunteers themselves can collaborate on fulfilling LPCS needs will aid us in creating more of a sense of community among our volunteers.

Staff: LPCS staff need to have the site be easy to update, with spell check capabilities, so that we can update in real time when events or needs occur with pictures/videos, documents and text. We regularly post on social media and having it automatically link to the website creates a much more efficient use of staff time.

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_chi2017-lincolnpark-before Thumbnail_chi2017-lincolnpark-after

24 Messages from Supporters

2017-02-11 16:19:50 UTC
Evellia Brooks IHC

LPCS to my surprise is a wonderful place to be. We offer a wide range of services from self help groups to cooking classes. Computers to health fitness. We have a group of Men and Women that are eager to learn. The dedication of the Staff is impeccable. I have a GREAT respect for this Agency as a whole. What's most important is the RESPECT that is shown to everyone that enters the building. I think that we are destined for greatness

2017-02-13 19:50:48 UTC
Danny Hart

LPCS is committed to making Chicago a better place, one resident at a time. The staff and volunteers truly care about every person who walks through the doors. The residents are eager to better themselves and are always happy to turn right around after graduating and help the next person who needs it. It's inspiring to see such a strong sense of community in the heart of the city and I feel privileged to be a part of that. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better group of people than those who live/work/volunteer at LPCS!

2017-02-14 18:59:55 UTC
Sarah GarciaL

LPCS is a very special place. This may sound cheesy but it is a place that changes people's lives; transforms them for the better. It is a place where people from very different backgrounds make meaningful connections. I have been a volunteer at LPCS for 3 years and I have met so many wonderful people who I would not have met otherwise. This organization has helped me to be more generous and less judgmental and that is a big blessing to me.

2017-02-13 20:16:02 UTC
Deanna Becker

LPCS is changing lives, both by challenging assumptions about what homelessness looks like and helping those experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing an adult's self-worth and confidence build before your eyes as new skills are unearthed and lessons are learned, and every day LPCS' incredible ecosystem of staff, volunteers and guests work together to make this happen. LPCS transforms people; it's time to transform LPCS' website into something that truly reflects that!

2017-02-13 20:24:20 UTC
Michael Nagy

LPCS is as much about reaching volunteers as it is about helping people experiencing homelessness. The organization has a unique model that engages local support for addressing the problem, which is why their website and social media presence is so critical. LPCS changes people's view of what homelessness really is (as it changed mine completely). They converted me from being apathetic, to a lifelong supporter.

2017-02-13 23:36:09 UTC
Jen Kouba

LPCS is an amazing organization that relies on the entire community to serve adults experiencing homelessness. Staff, volunteers, Graduates of the program, current Guests, corporate and community partners, neighbors and donors all contribute to LPCS in different ways to help us reach our goals and support the people we serve on a daily basis. In order to keep growing and serving more homeless men and women, we strive to continually improve and enhance our communications and outreach efforts. Improving our website would be a game changer in our outreach and ability to effectively communicate with our current and prospective supporters.

2017-02-14 15:18:36 UTC
Mary Donohue

LPCS has helped given me a purpose and a mission, it has helped me to answer the question "what must be done?" in my community. It gives me an opportunity each day to watch individuals transform their lives with grace, strength, joy, and grit. The community is magnetic- Graduates, volunteers, staff, and community members are constantly looking to do more and find new ways to contribute. Our mission and work is individually focused and seeks to recognize the human dignity in each and every person we interact with, finding ways to encourage and lift them to recognize their infinite worth, value, and potential. I am confident that LPCS plays a huge role in helping to alleviate homelessness in the city of Chicago and will continue to be a model of how to continually improve and enhance outreach and services.

2017-02-15 00:59:59 UTC
Kristen Field

LPCS is a cornerstone of the community. When I think community partner and servant leadership, I think of LPCS. It's been a true blessing to serve, love, give and get so much from my volunteer experiences at LPCS. Their holistic approach to providing dignity, service, motivation, and support is unmatched! Love love love LPCS and hope others have the opportunity to serve and give graciously of themselves to support those in our community who might need a hand... we all will be there at some point in our lives. LPCS serves the heart of people with respect and love.

2017-02-15 02:02:55 UTC
Katherine Erwin

LPCS is a remarkable catalyst for change--both for Guests and the community as a whole. I started as a donor, then became a volunteer, and then a board member. I've learned how easy it is to become homeless--and how difficult it can be to regain stability. Seeing how the talented and dedicated staff members collaborate with volunteers and each Guest to achieve lasting transformations has been a real treat. The entire LPCS family would look forward to the opportunity to reach even more volunteers and donors through a revamped web presence.

2017-02-15 03:00:04 UTC

This organization is community-first. Very gracious to their "guests" and welcomes all
Who need a warm bed, meal or hug!

2017-02-14 18:55:41 UTC
Channing Rollo

LPCS is doing wonderful, life-changing work in that hidden church basement! Rather than merely providing temporary support to adults experiencing homelessness, LPCS is committed to achieving and sustaining transformation in the lives of its guests. Its holistic model provides robust support to ensure guests’ successful transition back to independence. :)

2017-02-14 19:23:35 UTC
Giovanni Leopaldi

Working with LPCS has been a great joy to me over the last 2 years. To see the tenants work towards a second chance and embrace everything the LPCS has to offer has been inspiring. The staff at LPCS are so great to work with. They have a hands on approach that is tangible. They aren't just administrators sending emails. Everyone works together with the common goal of helping the tenants achieve their goals. I'm glad and honored to be part of it. I look forward to continuing my involvement with the LPCS and do anything I can to help the tenants reach their goals.

2017-02-15 14:46:25 UTC
Jeff Lawler

I have been a 10+ year volunteer. During this time I learned how fragile life can be. A professional mentor at time in my career. This mentor of mine fell on hard times to the point the LPCS was the best place for him. In 9 months, I witness the staff of the LPCS work with and support my friend to get him back to stable independent living. I have seen the LPCS do this for 100's of people in my years involved. This is a great organization that if able to go, will only continue to greater things to move towards ending homelessness.

2017-02-15 15:44:09 UTC
Siobhan O'Donoghue

LPCS provides an invaluable service in Lincoln Park offering a safe haven and a supportive home to those experiencing homelessness. LPCS helps guests transform their lives by offering resources and a high level of expertise to each and every guest who comes through their doors. DePaul University has had students and staff serve at the shelter for almost 2 decades. I have found LPCS staff to be highly dedicated, compassionate and caring. They are committed to honouring and promoting the inherent human dignity of each and every guest, and empowering them to reach their goals and attain independence and stability. An enhanced website would be a huge benefit to LPCS helping market to more volunteers and donors.

2017-02-15 19:51:52 UTC
Rena Menkes

I have never in my life met so many people that are passionate about one place. Not only the staff, who give everything everyday to help the organization and those it serves, but the guests and the graduates. There is not one conversation I have been in about LPCS that is not driven by one of two things; doing good for others or the joy LPCS has brought to their lives. Places like this deserve to get back what they give ten-fold and this is one simple thing that can have a vast impact on those who run LPCS, those who live there and most importantly those who want to be involved.

2017-02-16 15:55:52 UTC
Carol Deely

LPCS addresses homelessness in an affluent community that might otherwise consider homelessness someone else's problem. LPCS embraces their guests and volunteers and together they both win. The compassion, dignity and grace shown to guests is remarkable. The bonds are strong. The guests self confidence is restored allowing them to regain employment and then independent living. LPCS follows critical paths via their programs to set themselves apart. Guests are trained, re-trained, and encouraged to move to independence. The staff and volunteers of LPCS drive the success. But we really need to tell our story better and communicate and reach an even greater number of people. This opportunity to help us would go a long way in helping us tell our story at a critical point in our history. Thank you for your consideration. Please come in an see our work-you will be amazed. I am a 15 year volunteer and now Board Member. My family and I have serve meals together. We are all in.

2017-02-16 17:59:59 UTC

LPCS gives its guests a launch pad and safe space to start making the changes they want in their life to be happier, healthier, and live fuller lives. Guests come from all different backgrounds and find not only services and helpful staff but a sense of community that can keep them from feeling isolated and unsupported. LPCS looks at the entire person as the key to stopping homelessness and provides holistic interventions for its guests. LPCS is an innovative way to address homelessness in a world full of crisis-focused stopgap solutions that are clearly not working.

2017-02-16 22:08:36 UTC
Kathy Berghoff

There are many deserving not for profits out there but in my mind and in my heart there is no more deserving organization than LPCS for your volunteer time and for your donations. LPCS gives their guests a safe place to live as they work to achieve their personal goal of ending their homelessness-- with the help of dedicated and talented staff members. And the track record is impressive. Donated time and money is not wasted on fancy offices for the Executive Director! Ha! That is a laugh, actually. Admin costs are bare bones in order to provide the most help for the guests. What can be more fundamental than the need to help people who find themselves in the winter cold of Chicago with no where to go, no where to sleep?

2017-02-16 22:43:56 UTC
Claire Child

LPCS is filled with so many passionate people, working everyday to address homelessness! LPCS is a relationship focused organization, who views all people as individuals. I have never been a part of an organization that so genuinely cares about the people who walk through their doors. Being an intern an LPCS is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, one of the highlights of my college career as a whole. Guests are constantly sharing the impact that LPCS has had on them because of how they look at everyone as a whole person and wants to see them succeed. I could not think of a more deserving organization than LPCS. I never leave LPCS without a huge smile on my face.

2017-02-16 22:54:13 UTC
Beth Hattel

I had always heard that LPCS was unique from other shelters. I suppose it is in a nicer neighborhood but I never knew the rest. The combined ecumenical and community effort to respond the homeless population intrigued me. The success figures further intrigued me. As I became more involved, I was impressed by the dedication to the concept of metamorphosis. It’s very powerful and permeates throughout. There are many formidable organizations serving and building up those in need - LPCS has a special approach to our guests that is rooted in the distinct focus on the dignity of the person. To be honest, that's what has drawn me in. All people are both incredibly fragile AND incredibly strong. LPCS recognizes this. Providing truly comprehensive and holistic support to our guests so they can learn to live a full life and graduate to pursue the life that all people deserve is paramount to our programming.

I’ve never known of a non-profit who was more responsible and prudent with donations. At this time, we are limited in our electronic communications platform. In addition to being more efficient and effective at the staff level, we know that being “easier to work with” will positively impact our volunteer’s experience and our reach and our guests would benefit greatly from an upgrade also. The Nerdery’s donation to further build our communication capabilities will be deeply appreciated and provide immediate and far reaching value.

2017-02-17 18:53:04 UTC
Maggie Yastrow

I've been a volunteer at LPCS since January 2016 and can honestly say it has been a source of community, inspiration and happiness throughout my time there. Each time I walk into LPCS, I am greeted by staff members who make me feel incredibly valued and appreciated. Beyond that, the passion with which I see them interact with LPCS guests is uplifting, to say the least. I am afforded the chance to meet with LPCS guests on a weekly basis and discuss various life topics in a group setting. Over and over, the guests speak about how arriving at LPCS has been a crucial opportunity for them in terms of getting "back on track." The On-Track program at LPCS recognizes that each guest has a unique story to share and aims to understand and overcome the barriers to permanent housing that each guest faced or continues to face. The individualized and comprehensive nature of this program sets LPCS apart from other shelters. Furthermore, the facility itself is incredibly clean, comfortable and easy to feel "at home" in. For these reasons and many more, I am grateful to say I am an LPCS volunteer. I wish the staff and guests nothing but continued growth and success!

2017-02-18 20:41:25 UTC

I was the senior pastor of one of the founding churches of LPCS and was active with it for 25 years until my retirement. It has been amazing to see it grow from a traditional overnight shelter to the unique social service organization that it is today. It doesn't just help men and women get off the street and into a shelter, even though that is terrific in and of itself. It helps that get out of the shelter and into jobs and homes where they can be active members of society. LPCS has an amazing success rate in doing just that through its On Track program which assists guests in overcoming addictions and other major obstacles to their ability to be fully functioning in the work force and in society as a whole. This is an organization that is truly deserving of assistance in building a first-rate website to further their work.

2017-02-18 20:43:31 UTC
Thomas Henry

I was the senior pastor of one of the founding churches of LPCS and was active with it for 25 years until my retirement. It has been amazing to see it grow from a traditional overnight shelter to the unique social service organization that it is today. It doesn't just help men and women get off the street and into a shelter, even though that is terrific in and of itself. It helps that get out of the shelter and into jobs and homes where they can be active members of society. LPCS has an amazing success rate in doing just that through its On Track program which assists guests in overcoming addictions and other major obstacles to their ability to be fully functioning in the work force and in society as a whole. This is an organization that is truly deserving of assistance in building a first-rate website to further their work.

2017-02-25 17:28:33 UTC
Myrtle Ward

I found LPCS on the Internet when I was searching for a place to serve since I had relocated from Florida and I began volunteering immediately. LPCS is a true blessing to those experiencing homelessness, as well as those who serve helping our guests. There are so many caring people here! I feel very honored to be one of the staff and I am thankful for the opportunity.

Our Mission

The Lincoln Park Community Shelter brings communities together to empower homeless men and women to make and sustain life changes. Vision *We will provide a holistic continuum of services that removes barriers and increases self-sufficiency. *We will be a leader and innovator in creating solutions to homelessness in our community. *We believe that every person in our community has a stake in and can contribute to ending homelessness. Values *Accountability: The LPCS, its Guests, and stakeholders are a community with common interests - each group supports and is accountable to the other. The LPCS and its Guests are accountable to each other for the success of each individual and programs overall. The LPCS is also accountable to its many volunteers, donors, and the community at large to provide quality programs that enhance the lives of all those involved. *Self-Determination: Guests take ownership of the change process by setting short- and long-term goals according to their needs. Guests and staff work in partnership, developing individually tailored programs that enable Guests to achieve their goals. *Community Engagement: LPCS, its Guests, and its supporters work with Lincoln Park residents, local community organizations, faith communities, and the business community to ensure mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.